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Proceedings 2015/005

Proceedings of the National Peer Review on the Development of Technical Guidelines for the Provision of Scientific Advice on the Various Elements of Fisheries and Oceans Canada Precautionary Approach Framework; February 28-March 1, 2012

Co-chairpersons: Denis Rivard and Estelle Couture
Editors: Martha Krohn and Estelle Couture


A National Advisory Process on providing Science advice for the implementation of the Precautionary Approach (PA) was held in Ottawa from February 28 to March 1, 2012. This process was led by Science and participants included regional scientists as well as members from Science, Resource Management and Fisheries Renewal from national headquarters. The two co-chairpersons were Estelle Couture and Denis Rivard, and four external experts were invited as reviewers.

In 2009, DFO published its policy for the implementation of the Precautionary Approach (PA) called "A decision-making framework for implementing a harvest strategy that incorporates the Precautionary Approach (PA)" (DFO 2009a). The Departmental policy on the Implementation of the PA is also guided by the federal framework on guiding principles for the application of precaution to decision making where there is a risk of serious or irreversible harm (PCO 2003).

The Department's PA framework applies where decisions on harvest rates must be taken for key harvested stocks managed by DFO. Although the policy is in place, and scientists have gained experience in providing advice for the implementation of the elements of PA frameworks, more specific guidance and best practices were needed for technical aspects of implementing the PA policy to ensure that scientific advice is delivered in a consistent manner across stocks and regions. The intent of this national advisory process was not to review the content of the PA policy itself but to provide guidance on its implementation.

The resulting guidance document on the Science components required for the development of a Precautionary Approach Framework is included here as Annex 4 called "Current Approaches for the Provision of Scientific Advice on the Precautionary Approach for Canadian Fish Stocks". This document was developed to assist scientist practitioners responsible for developing the science advice on the elements of the decision framework in the PA policy (i.e. Limit Reference Point, Upper Stock Reference, Target Reference Point, Removal Reference and Harvest Decision Rules in the three zones of the PA framework). The body of this proceedings is a summary of meeting discussions (general conclusions are in bold) and the guidance document is in Annex 4.

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